My daughter’s reflections

October 3, 2008

My daughter Beth wrote a wonderful blog about her journey through my cancer.

Here is the link.



October 3, 2008

I praise you, LORD, for answering my prayers. You are my strong shield, and I trust you completely. You have helped me,  and I will celebrate and thank you in song.  You give strength to your people, LORD, and you save and protect your chosen ones. Come save us and bless us.  Be our shepherd and always carry us in your arms. Psalm28:6-9 CEV.

Yes, this is a GOOD day. And God is GOOD. I have received the all clear from my oncologist. The area that was of concern last week was not an issue this week. All that is left of the tumor is some scar tissue, and I can live with the occassional discomfort of that. My next appointment is in three months!

To all who are battling the nausea, fatigue, and sores of chemotherapy and radiation, I lift you up to the Lord of life.  To the family members who feel helpless as they watch their loved one’s suffering, may God grant you peace. And especially for those who are fighting a losing battle with cancer, may you be surrounded by the abounding love of our gracious God. May you know deeply and intimately the One who gave his life for you.

Still Growing Stronger

September 29, 2008

The first week of September, as I reviewed the class assignments for my semester at Perkins Seminary, I was feeling overwhelmed. “Completing all these assignments is going to be tough.”

This past week, I have begun feeling much more confident. The assignments seem doable. It’s amazing how much my attitude has changed. I’ve come to the conclusion that when we are fatigued, even the smallest molehill looks like a mountain. I believe that my newfound confidence about the work ahead can be contributed to my increased strength as the tumor has been obliterated and the lingering side effects of chemo and radiation are lessening each day. More importantly, I attribute it to your prayers for my strength on this journey.

I hope to give you an “ALL CLEAR” report after my doctor’s visit on Thursday.

Into the Unknown

September 23, 2008

Last Friday as we were still bemoaning the lack of electricity, my dear daughter Beth and her husband were at the doctor’s office for what they called “gender discovery day.” Unfortunately that lively baby Wilson, while dancing in the womb, never moved in such a way that the question could be answered. So it seems they won’t know if they have a little boy or girl until they hold him/her in their arms for the first time. Praise God that they were able to determine that the baby was healthy.

I, too, am venturing into the unknown. While the tumor is gone, there is a spot of abnormal (rough textured) tissue. It may be (and Dave is hoping this is true) tissue that is burned from the radiation. Or it may be something else. The radiologist has suggested that I get the oncologist to examine the area— so I now won’t know anything until October 2. (at least I’m not waiting five months to know the answer.) 

I had some bloodwork today and had an interesting experience.

Phebotomist: “Do you believe that someone can actually hear God’s voice?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve heard God speak.”

Phebotomist: “Thank-you. One day I was in the lab with my friend sitting in the chair just like you are sitting here today. I heard a voice stay ‘run, and don’t stop.’ Just then I heard a crashing sound and began running. My friend followed just as a car came crashing through the building right where we had been.”

It was neat to talk about God’s care for his children. She asked me to pray for her to have patience and endurance to endure the discomforts of the continued lack of electricity.

Please pray for all whose lives have been disrupted by Hurrican Ike, especially those who lost everything.

Back by Popular Demand

September 10, 2008

Shortly before going into the hospital I wrote this article for our Church Newsletter. I got so many positive responses on it that I thought I would put it out on the web for those who do not receive Forest Reflections.

I’ve been stuck with needles a lot lately, needles that pour chemotherapy into my veins, needles that extract my blood to evaluate the damage done by the chemo, needles that replace my diminishing red blood cells, and shots that rebuild my white blood count. You’d think I’d be used to needles by now, but I’m not. It seems that with each visit to a doctor’s office I dread the needles more and more. I find myself reverting to a practice my mother taught me as a child with pneumonia: I sing “Jesus Loves Me” as the needle goes in. This song is more than a distraction to divert my attention away from a mild discomfort; it is the truth of God that sustains me in the deepest storm. Singing the song points me again to my Source and reminds me that He is trustworthy because He loves me. I am strengthened even more when I am reminded from Psalm 147:11 that God is delighted in me when I put my trust in His unfailing love.

Knowing, really knowing, that God loves each of us is foundational to living a life of faith. The Apostle Paul knew this, he prayed for the believers in Ephesus, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV)

This is my prayer for you as well, and may God delight in you because you have learned to trust his love.

The latest news

September 8, 2008

Many of you commented to me on Sunday that you are continuing to check my blog to see how things are going, so I realized I needed to keep you up to date.

I started back to school on August 28th–that first week was pretty exhausting (and I was glad that my 3:00 class was cancelled that day), but this past week I found my energy getting stronger. I am grateful to God that he has enabled me to get back to school. However, as I think of the class schedule, the many class projects to complete and how my Saturdays are to be filled with homework for the next 11 weeks, I can feel overwhelmed. Please be praying that I pace myself and listen to my body letting me know how much is too much.

Regarding my health, I’m still in this waiting mode, waiting while the tumor continues to die, waiting to hear the doctor confirm it’s gone. My appointment with the doctor is set for September 23rd. I’m hoping to hear on that day that the tumor is indeed gone.

In some way (emotionally, not physically) this waiting is harder than the treatments. With the treatments I was busy just getting through the daily nausea and side effects, leaving very little time for the “what ifs.” Now I find at times the doubt wanting to creep in–and I have to make a decision to begin praising God, reminding myself of who God is and the marvelous ways God has faithfully seen me through other crises in my life. It’s amazing how effectively focusing on God rather on my “what ifs” quenches my fears.

I continue to be encouraged by the cards I receive. I’m encouraged  when you tell me you are praying for me every day… these acts of encouragement humble me and lift me up at the same time.

Trying to Act Normal

August 28, 2008

Perhaps its a form of denial, this acting I don’t have cancer, trying to do everything I’ve always done, but then exhaustion hits me and I’m reminded that my body just isn’t up to snuff yet. Dave has to keep reminding me that my body has undergone an onslaught with all this chemotherapy and radiation as well as the cancer itself.

It happened today… yesterday had been a full day at work–followed by spending the evening with David troubleshooting some problems with his new printer until 10:30pm.  I got up this morning, took a shower, washed my hair, got dressed and kissed David goodbye only to realize how exhausted I was. I ended up spending the morning on the sofa, too exhausted to either move or sleep. It did provide me some time to pray–some of it was selfish (“Lord, I sure need my prayer warriors praying for me now.”) and some of it was out of deep compassion for the families in our church who have lost loved ones recently.

Keep me in your prayers as I head to Dallas Thursday morning for seminary classes.

Now, the Waiting

August 26, 2008

As of last Thursday I completed the treatment plan… and now we wait. We wait as the chemo and radiation do their job destroying the last of the tumor. This takes patience, faith, and hope as we won’t know the results until the end of September.

So as we wait, these are my prayer requests.

  • That I continue to rest in the Lord as I wait.
  • That the tumor will be completely destroyed and I will not have a relapse.
  • That the side effects continue to be minimal.
  • That I will continue to get stronger and have the stamina to attend school in Dallas (it starts Thursday).
  • That God will use what I have gone through for his glory, today, tomorrow, and in the days to come.

(Thanks to you all who prayed; today, Monday has been my first day without nausea.)

God bless you for all your prayers. It was so good to see you Sunday. I was awed by the number of you who are praying for me on a regular basis. I KNOW that is why I have been able to walk this journey in peace. I thank God who came up with the plan of the church, believers spreading the gospel and upholding each other in love. (among many other blessings God gives His people through the church!!!)

Home at Last

August 23, 2008

I am home now, weaker than I thought I would be (I slept over 12 hours Thursday night!) and hoping to get stronger as the days progress.

Monday, the day of the implant had been rough as I had a reaction to either the anasthesia or morphine they gave me and spent the rest of the day with nausea and vomiting. Because of that the doctor was concerned about what kind of pain medication to give me when removing the implant on Thursday. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was very concerned that using a combination of tylenol/advil would be enough… but I had passed the word on to a few of you to be praying around noon on Thursday and God answered the prayers —even the doctor admitted afterward that it went much better than he had expected. Now I wait for about 6 weeks to see if the radiation did its job. I know a lot of you are praying that it has, and I thank you as I remember that our Lord has promised that if 2 or more agree in prayer, He answers.

I must say that I am sick and tired of being sick (nauseated) and tired. The nausea still hasn’t gone away, but I hope that this time around its just the effects of the antibiotic I’m taking for the next 3 days.

I couldn’t do much more than listen to Christian music CDs, Beth Moore videos, and pray… but it filled my days (when I wasn’t sleeping–which I did a lot.)

Thank you for your continued prayers, cards, loving messages and support for David as we have gone through this trial. God bless all of you.

Getting Ready for the Hospital

August 18, 2008

(Sunday evening) Tomorrow I’ll be heading to the hospital for 3 days of laying still while the radiation implant does its part. I’d been pretty optimistic about what I would be able to do those three days, but I recently learned that I will be laying at a 15% angle, so occupying myself with reading  is out… so I hope to at least watch some bible study videos and listen to some music.

These are my prayer requests for the next couple of days.

  1. That even though I will be isolated for the most part, I will still have the opportunity to be a witness of Christ’s grace to those I encounter.
  2. That this brachytherapy does its job of destroying the remaining cancer cells.
  3. That this hospitialization will be a refreshing time in God’s presence (that any discomfort I feel will not succeed in moving my eyes off my Lord and Savior.)
  4. That David would continue to be encouraged as he stands beside through all this.
  5. That my father would continue to find hope and peace in the Lord concerning my health.